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Definition: N-acetyl glucosamine is a chemical that comes from the outer shells of shellfish.N-Acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is an amide derivative of the monosaccharide glucose. It is a secondary amide between glucosamine and acetic acid. It is significant in several biological systems. It is part of a biopolymer in the bacterial cell wall, which is built from alternating units of GlcNAc and N-acetylmuramic acid (MurNAc), cross-linked with oligopeptides at the lactic acid residue of MurNAc. This layered structure is called peptidoglycan (formerly called murein). GlcNAc is the monomeric unit of the polymer chitin, which forms the exoskeletons of arthropods like insects and crustaceans. It is the main component of the radulas of mollusks, the beaks of cephalopods, and a major component of the cell walls of most fungi. Polymerized with glucuronic acid, it forms hyaluronan. GlcNAc has been reported to be an inhibitor of elastase release from human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (range 8–17% inhibition), however this is much weaker than the inhibition seen with N-acetylgalactosamine (range 92–100%)
Application: It plays a role in joint health, cartilage growth, and synovial fluid formation.
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